The Thadous in Manipur are an important tribe living in a large area of hilly country bounded by the Angami Naga of the Naga Hills District in the North, the province of Myanmar in the east, the Chin Hills and Lushei Hills in the south, and the District of Cachar in the west. Having a distinctive language, custom and culture, there are 31 clans under the tribe Thadou in Manipur as recognized by the Government of India. Population of the Thadous provided to the researcher by the Directorate of Census Operation, Manipur is: 47,046 in 1931; 44,976 in 1951; 47,994 in 1961; 59,955 in 1971; 56,467 in 1981; 1,21,994 in 1991; 1,82,594 in 2001; and 2,15,913 in 2011.
ARRIVAL OF CHRISTIANITY AMONG THE THADOU
Christianity in Northern Manipur was brought in by William Pettigrew, an American Baptist Missionary on February 6, 1894. The first Thadou Church, Tujangwaichong Baptist Church was established on 12 December, 1914, largely through the work of Ngulhao Thomsong, the first convert among the Thadou. The next church was Langkhong in 1914-1915, followed by Shenbangyang in 1917, Tongkoi and Chaljang in 1919, Karakhun, Songphel Khulen, Gelnel, Kachai Kuki all in 1920, and Lhongchin in 1922.
FORMATION OF KUKI BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
The Thadou-Kukis, in 1949, have a conference in Tujangvaichong and decided to form a separate Association. Mr. Satkhosei Thangeo, Mr. Seilen Hangsing, Mr. Otkhosei Haokip, Mr. Tongkhopao Ngoilu, Mr. Mangkhohen, Mr. Palal Lhouvum and Mr. Lenjahao Malneo took an initiative part by contributing a small amount of money and send Evan. Seikholet Singson as Evangelist-cum-Organiser by paying Rs. 40/- per month. Likewise, Seikholet went around on tour to every Kuki Baptist village in Manipur and organized the formation of separate Association.
Thus, in the meeting at South Changoubung in the early part of 1950, separate Association that belongs entirely for the Kuki tribes, the Kuki Baptist Association (KBA) was established. The first office bearer of the Association were: Chairman, Mr. S.L. Palal (after sometime he was replaced by Mr. S.L. Lunneh); Field Secretary, Mr. Tongkhohao Hangsing; Field Evangelist, Mr. Seikholet Singson; and Treasurer Mr. Tongkhothang. The two Pastors are: Pastor Pakho Sitlhou and Pastor Tongkhopao Ngailut. Mr. Songneh Lhouvum’s house was rented to be used as an office, and so begins the long run of KBA.
Since KBA cannot just exist without land and Office, Evan. Seikholet Singson (Field Evangelist) and Mr. S.L. Lunneh (Chairman) approach Mr. V. Sundaram (Deputy Commissioner of Manipur) for a plot of land. As per their request, Sundaram give them 17½ acres of Government land at Motbung to be use as Mission Compound, and the office was shifted from Kangpokpi to Motbung.
AFFILIATION TO MBC & CBCNEI
When Rev. Seikholet Singson was appointed to be the Executive Secretary of MBC and Executive Committee Member in Council of Baptist Churches in North East India (CBCNEI), he initiates the recognition of KBA by MBC and CBCNEI. Thus in 1955 itself MBC and CBCNEI recognised KBA as Manipur Baptist Association (MBA) No. 5 and the Association was granted Rs. 12,000/- of the Centre grant by the ABFMS (American Baptist Foreign Mission Society) through the CBCNEI. With that amount the Association built one pucca central office, one semi pucca building for multipurpose use, and one RCC building for the Vernacular Bible School. These are still in good condition.
With the recognition by MBC, Mr. Mangkho Thomsong was appointed to be the first Director and Mr. Paokhosem as clerk, and the Pastors were: Pastor. Pakho Sitlhou, Pastor. Tongkhopao Ngailut, Pastor. Lungkhohen Misao, Pastor. Songjalun, Pastor. Henkhosei Lhangum, Pastor. Songkhopao Mangte and Pastor. Tongkhohen Lhoujem.
RECHRISTENING OF KUKI BAPTIST ASSOCIATION (KBA) TO THADOU BAPTIST ASSOCIATION (TBA)
Formally KBA was formed by the many tribes under the nomenclature Kuki. With the increase of Christian population all over Manipur, each and every tribe were self sufficient to form an Association according to the name of their tribes. Meanwhile the MBC and CBCNEI had abolished the number wise Association and permitted to name the Association after their tribe’s name. KBA now consisting of only Thadou had in mind to form an Association of their own after the name of their tribe.
Therefore, in the General Assembly held at Haipi Baptist Church during September 28 to October 1, 1971; on the 30th of September, the members representing the KBA Churches rechristen the name Kuki Baptist Association (KBA) to Thadou Baptist Association (TBA). Rev. Helien Kipgen became the first Field secretary of TBA.
The renaming of the Association as Thadou Baptist Association has been approved by the Manipur Baptist Convention of Churches vide Resolution No. 16, Sl. No. 1 of 53rd MBCC Assembly, dated: Imphal, the 3rd December, 1971.
PRESIDENTS AND EXECUTIVE SECRETARIES OF TBA SINCE ITS RE-ORGANISATION IN 1971
1. Tongkhothang Kipgen (1971-1972)
2. Vumlun Haokip (May – December, 1972)
3. Khuppao Missao (1973-1975)
4. Henkholen Sitlhou (1976)
5. K.H. Paokhosem (1977-1979)
6. Lamkholen Kipgen(1980-1982)
7. S.K. Lhunkam (1983-1985)
8. S.L. Seimang (1986-1987)
9. Vumkam Kipgen (1988-1989)
10. Lhunkam Sah’um (1990-1996)
11. Seitinthang Kipgen(1997-2001)
12. T.K. Siema Singson (1/12/2001-2005)
13. S.L. Lamthang (2006-2009)
14. L. Tongpao (2009-2010)
15. D. Angel (2010-2011)
16. S.L. Paojagin (2012-11/2/2018)
17. Rev. Vumthang Sitlhou
(11/2/2018 till date)
1. Rev. Helien Kipgen (1/1/1971 - 11/2/1982)
2. Rev. Satjasei (11/2/1982-2/4/1082)
3. Rev. Thangkholet Kipgen (12/4/1982 - 15/1/1985)
4. Rev. Vumthang Sitlhou 16/1/1985-10/5/1986)
5. Rev. Satjasei (10/5/1986-5/5/1988)
6. Rev. Vumthang Sitlhou (6/5/1988 - 10/7/1996)
7. Rev. Thangkholet Kipgen (11/7/1996 - 1/11/1998)
8. Rev. Vumthang Sitlhou (2/11/1998 - 2000)
9. Rev. Thangkholet (1/11/2011 - 2009)
10. Rev. Paotinlal Lhouvum (2009 - 2010)
11. Rev. Khaikhothang Singson (2011- October, 2012)
12. Rev. Lunkholal Kipgen (October, 2012 - February, 2013)
13. Rev. Vumthang Sitlhou (February, 2013 - 11 February 2018)
14. Rev. Lunlal Kipgen
(11 Feb., 2018 till date)